2024 NBA Play-In Tournament: What to Know & How to Watch

2024 NBA Play-In Tournament: What to Know & How to Watch

We’re starting to see the top teams in the NBA standings, like the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves locking in their playoff spots. But what about those more toward the middle of the pack, the prospective 7- and 8-seeds? That’s what the NBA Play-In Tournament is for.

Here’s your guide to the NBA’s new pre-playoffs format, the Sofi NBA Play-In Tournament. Get the information you need right here so you can watch the odds play out live on the court.

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What is the Sofi NBA Play-In Tournament?

You might consider the NBA Play-In Tournament to be the playoffs before the playoffs. It’s a preliminary tournament between the middle-ranked teams in the standings that happens at the beginning of the NBA post-season to determine which teams will lay claim to the final two playoff seeds in the Eastern and Western Conferences.

How Does the NBA Play-In Tournament Work?

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Teams that ended the NBA regular season in positions 7-10 in the standings square off to determine who will become the 7- and 8-seeds in their conference’s respective playoff bracket.

The first NBA Play-In game was played during the 2019-2020 season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the NBA’s playoff “bubble” format. The tournament format was introduced in the 2020-2021 season, and in July 2022, the format was made a permanent feature of the postseason.

The bracket for each conference is as follows:

  • The 7th and 8th place teams play each other, and the winner becomes the 7-seed
  • The 9th and 10th place teams play each other
  • The winner of 9/10 game plays the loser of the 7/8 game to determine the 8-seed

When is the NBA Play-In Tournament?

The NBA Play-In Tournament will be held from April 16 to April 19, 2024, just after the regular season ends but before the first round of the playoffs begins.

How to Watch the NBA Play-In Tournament

All of the games in the NBA Play-In Tournament will be broadcast on TNT (DIRECTV Channel 245) and ESPN (DIRECTV Channel 206).

Which Teams Will Be in the NBA Play-In Tournament?

As the standings sit right now, the following teams would be in the Play-In Tournament if the season ended today:

Eastern Conference:

The Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks are in fifth and sixth place and could still fall into play-in contention. The Brooklyn Nets are in 11th place in the east and still theoretically in contention for an NBA Play-In tournament spot.

Western Conference:

The Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans are in fifth and sixth place and could find themselves in the play-in tournament. The Houston Rockets are in 11th place in the west and still theoretically in contention for an NBA Play-In tournament spot.

Who is Expected to Win the NBA Play-In Tournament This Year?

In the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls and the Philadelphia 76ers are favored, while the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers are favorites to perform well in the Western Conference.

NBA Playoffs Schedule

Here’s the full schedule for the NBA playoffs, including the NBA Play-In Tournament.

  • April 16 – 19: NBA Play-In Tournament
  • April 20: NBA Playoffs Begin
  • May 6 – 7: Conference Semi-Finals
  • May 21- 22: Conference Finals
  • June 6 – 23: NBA Finals. The finals would end June 14 if finished in four games, otherwise games 5, 6 and 7 will be played between June 17 and 23.

The playoffs will be broadcast on ABC (Check local listings for channel number), ESPN, TNT and NBA TV.

Watch the NBA Playoffs and Play-In Tournament on DIRECTV

Don’t miss a single slam dunk, lay-up or heartbreaking elimination. Get DIRECTV today to catch every single game of the 2024 NBA Play-In Tournament and the NBA Playoffs, plus more live sports.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NBA Play-In Tournament

The NBA Play-In Tournament is the preliminary tournament before the playoffs start to determine the 7- and 8-seeds for each conference.

When is the NBA Play-In Tournament in 2024?

The NBA Play-In Tournament starts April 16 and ends April 19, 2024.

How new is the NBA Play-In Tournament?

It was first held in 2020 and made permanent in 2022.